Blog #14 Using Supplements to Save Your Life-Part 4- Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C, Cruciferous Vegetables)/ Green Food Extract-Cruciferous VegetablesMay 3, 2011 on 6:23 am | In General Posts | Comments Off
As I mentioned in prior blogs, as a reminder about the EXTREME IMPORTANCE of using supplements if you have cancer (or want to limit your chances of developing cancer,) and as a disclaimer:
“No matter how much surgery you do to cut out cancer, or how much radiation you use to burn out cancer, or how much chemotherapy you use to poison cancer, if the patient’s immune system is not functioning properly, that patient will die from cancer.”
That statement, made by world-famous cancer expert Dr. Russell Blaylock in my book, The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs, really says it all.
After surgery cuts out most of the cancer, and chemotherapy kills most of the cancer, and radiation burns most of the cancer, what’s left to do destroy any remaining cancer cells? Absolutely nothing! Unless the patient continues therapy, using a combination of proper diet, mind-body medicine, and nutritional supplements, any cancer cells that have survived conventional therapy will, at some point, continue to grow, spread, and ultimately kill the patient.
Unfortunately, unless you are familiar with naturopathic medicine or are lucky enough to work with a naturopathic doctor, your conventional doctors will not tell you any of this. Despite the fact that Sandy has visited several outstanding conventional doctors, not one of them, NOT ONE, has ever talked about the use of diet or supplements to kill cancer or boost her immune system.
The sad news is that so many cancer patients will ultimately die after surviving conventional therapies because nothing is done to prevent the recurrence of cancer. Ever since Sandy’s diagnosis, it seems that not a day goes by that I don’t discover that someone else I know has been diagnosed with cancer (usually breast cancer.) Yet not one of these patients is doing anything “natural” to support her immune system or continue the fight against cancer once conventional therapies have finished. How sad and tragic to know that many people will needlessly die out of ignorance once their cancer returns.
The most important reason I’m writing these blogs is to educate current and future cancer patients about all of their options. Just because your conventional doctors don’t know about these options or don’t agree with these options doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider them.
The questions are very simple: what are you doing now to make your conventional therapies more effective and reduce their side effects, and what will you do once your conventional therapies stop to prevent your cancer from coming back?
In this blog and the ones to follow, I will share with you the supplements that I have put together (with help from several naturopathic doctors) to help Sandy maximize the benefits from our conventional therapies, reduce their side effects, and remain cancer-free the rest of her life. While there are no guarantees, we believe this is a better approach than simply doing nothing and waiting to see what happens (in most cases, “what happens” is that the cancer returns and kills the patient.)
In my own veterinary practice, while I can never offer guarantees to my patients, I tell them that based upon my years of using natural therapies to help pets with cancer, I expect my patients to live one and a half to two times longer than their conventional doctors expect them to live IF they will use properly prescribed natural therapies.
Please note that I am NOT saying that the supplements we have chosen for Sandy are appropriate for you if you have cancer. You MUST work with your naturopathic doctors to find the right treatments for you, similar to working with your conventional doctors to find the right conventional therapies for you.
I’m also NOT saying that these supplements will guarantee that Sandy will never have cancer or any other illness again. I do know that using supplements to help her immune system stay strong enough to fight cancer is much better than doing nothing excepting waiting to see what happens in the future.
And since there are many out there (especially doctors!) who are skeptical about the effectiveness of natural supplements, I have included a description of why each supplement was chosen to help Sandy win the war against her cancer based upon volumes of research.
Sandy’s supplement regimen (which changes depending upon her circumstances and as new research becomes available):
Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C, Cruciferous Vegetables)/ Green Food Extract-Cruciferous Vegetables
Indole-3-carbinol (I3C,) a product of glucosinolates present in cruciferous vegetables, is a potent inducer of liver cytochrome P450 enzymes. A protective effect may occur due to increased 2-hydroxylation and consequent inactivation of endogenous estrogens. I3C appears to be effective in shifting the metabolism of estradiol from the dangerous 16-alpha-hydroxylase pathway to the 2-hydroxylase pathway. As a result, consumption of I3C boosts the ratio of 2-OHE1:16a-OHE1, which correlates with reduced risk of breast and other cancers, including cervical, prostate, and even head and neck cancers. Cruciferous vegetable compounds (such as I3C) are effective in shifting estrogen metabolism to the more beneficial pathway, thus reducing levels of toxic 16- alpha-hydroxyestrone and increasing levels of protective 2-hydroxyestrone.
Scientists working with breast cancer cell cultures observed that a broccoli-watercress extract effectively lowers the expression of metalloproteinase-9, an enzyme associated with breast cancer’s invasiveness. The same team simultaneously published research indicating that isothiocyanate compounds in watercress suppress production of pro-inflammatory compounds in laboratory models of cellular activity. “Overproduction of both nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandins (PGE) has been associated with numerous pathological conditions, including chronic inflammation and cancer,” the researchers noted. They speculated that this effect may contribute to the anti-cancer activity of cruciferous vegetables.
Dietary intake of I3C prevents the development of estrogen-enhanced cancers, including breast, endometrial, and cervical cancers. While estrogen increases the growth and survival of tumors, I3C has been found to cause growth arrest and increased apoptosis (programmed cell death).
I3C has been shown to inhibit the growth of human cancer cells in vitro and possesses anticarcinogenic activity in vivo; in one study involving human breast cancer cells, a derivative of I3C inhibited breast cancer cell growth.
According to information from Life Extension Foundation, I3C controls estrogen metabolism through the same receptor that allows dioxin into the cell (the “Ah” receptor (aryl hydrocarbon)). Ah is similar to the estrogen receptor in that it can induce cellular growth. Unlike the estrogen receptor, however, scientists haven’t found the body’s natural “Ah” that fits into the Ah receptor. The only substances known to activate Ah are certain phytochemicals, including I3C-and the proven cancer promoter, dioxin. Dioxin is a very toxic chemical made from chlorine. It’s used in all kinds of things-from Saran Wrap(r) to pesticides to wood preservative. It has been detected in McDonald’s Big Macs(r), Haagen-Daz(r) ice cream and Kentucky Fried Chicken(r). Meat, dairy products and fish are the most concentrated sources. When paper is bleached or plastic is burned, dioxin is released into the environment. Because it lodges in fat, it’s almost impossible to remove from the human body.
Dioxin, like I3C, affects estrogen metabolism. For this reason, it has been called an estrogen blocker (like tamoxifen). But it doesn’t work through the estrogen receptor. Dioxin and I3C both affect estrogen metabolism through the Ah receptor. In addition to changing the metabolism of estrogen, dioxin also disrupts other important growth regulatory factors. Among those factors are insulin, IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor), and tumor necrosis factor (TNF). It also activates cancer genes and suppresses tumor suppressor genes.
I3C, on the other hand, fits into the Ah receptor, but instead of sending signals that help cancer grow, it sends signals that stop it. I3C uses the Ah receptor to indirectly affect estrogen metabolism also, but in a beneficial way. Not only does it positively affect estrogen, it can also keep dioxin out of cells. When researchers at Texas A & M University treated breast cancer cells with I3C and dioxin at the same time, dioxin’s adverse effects were reduced 90% by I3C.
I3C not only weakens estrogen and keeps chemicals out of cells, it also goes after cancer in ways similar to tamoxifen. It, interrupts the cell cycle. I3C inhibits the growth of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells by 90% compared to tamoxifen’s 60% by stopping the cell cycle. (Adding tamoxifen to I3C gave a 5% boost.) In estrogen receptor-negative cells I3C stopped the synthesis of DNA for new cells by about 50% whereas tamoxifen had no significant effect. I3C also restores the tumor suppressor gene p21 and other tumor suppressors that act as check points during synthesis of a new cell. Tamoxifen, by contrast, has no effect on p21. A study on rodents shows that damaged DNA in breast cells is reduced 91% by I3C.
While there is no proven breast cancer preventive, the best and most comprehensive scientific evidence so far stands behind phytochemicals such as I3C. I3C beat out more than 80 other substances, including tamoxifen, for anti-cancer potential in an assay done at the National Cancer Institute.
Caution: Pregnant women should not take I3C because of its modulation of estrogen. I3C appears to act both at the ovarian and hypothalamic levels, whereas tamoxifen appears to act only on the hypothalamic-pituitary axis as an anti-estrogen. Both I3C and tamoxifen block ovulation by altering preovulatory concentrations of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH.) The reported aversion to cruciferous vegetables by pregnant women may be associated with their ability to change estrogen metabolism. Estrogen is a necessary growth factor for the fetus.
A summary of studies provided by the Life Extension Foundation shows that indole-3-carbinol (I3C) can:
• Increase the conversion of estradiol to the safer estriol by 50% in healthy people in just 1 week.
• Prevent the formation of the estrogen metabolite, 16,alpha-hydroxyestrone, that prompts breast cancer cells to grow, in both men and women in 2 months.
• Stop human cancer cells from growing (54-61%) and provoke the cells to self-destruct (apoptosis.)
• Inhibit human breast cancer cells (MCF7) from growing by as much as 90% in vitro.
• Inhibit the growth of estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer cells by 90%, compared to tamoxifen’s 60%, by stopping the cell cycle.
• Prevent chemically induced breast cancer in rodents by 70-96%. Prevent other types of cancer, including aflatoxin-induced liver cancer, leukemia, and colon cancer.
• Inhibit free radicals, particularly those that cause the oxidation of fat.
• Stop the synthesis of DNA by about 50% in estrogen-receptor-negative cells, whereas tamoxifen had no significant effect.
• Restore p21 and other proteins that act as checkpoints during the synthesis of a new cancer cell. Tamoxifen has no effect on p21.
• Virtually eliminate DNA damage and cancer prior to exposure to cancer-causing chemicals (in animals fed I3C.)
• Reduce DNA damage in breast cells by 91%.
• Reduce levels of a major nitrosamine carcinogen in female smokers.